A Section 8 housing list in Massachusetts includes information on rentals that will accept housing choice vouchers. When a public housing agency (PHA) grants you rental assistance, the organization will provide you with information on finding a rental during a briefing. Moreover, the PHA may give you information on Section 8 approved housing for rent in your area, but that is not always the case.
As you begin your search for rentals, it is important to keep the program rules in mind. For example, the unit you choose will need to pass an inspection before you are allowed to move in. Below, learn more about finding Section 8 listings and selecting an apartment that will meet your PHA’s requirements.
What is an approved Section 8 housing list in Massachusetts?
In some cases, your local housing agency will give you an official list of low income apartments for rent that you can choose from. However, the format of a housing list may vary depending on the resources your PHA has. For instance, a Section 8 housing list may come in any of the following forms:
- Links to apartment for rent apps that the PHA endorses.
- An informational brochure or packet with details on local rentals.
- A webpage for voucher-holders.
- Contact information for landlords who have rented to Section 8 participants in the past.
It is important to note that, even if you receive Section 8 rental listings from your local PHA, the organization may not have the resources to help you locate specific units or contact landlords. Instead, you are typically responsible for handling this part of the apartment searching process.
In addition to PHA resources, you may also utilize state and federal tools for finding an affordable rental. For example, MassHousing is a public state-wide agency that provides information on locating an apartment in Massachusetts. Moreover, you may utilize tools from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which oversees the Section 8 program.
HUD homes for rent listings can be a useful starting place when you are unsure of where to look for rental housing. These listings may contain the following types of units:
- Apartments in high-rise units
- Apartments in multi-family complexes
- Single-family homes
When searching through Section 8 listings, keep in mind that the results may include a wide variety of properties. For example, certain rentals may have special eligibility criteria, such as units in senior living complexes.
These HUD listings can also include properties in public housing projects. However, keep in mind that a Section 8 voucher is a form of tenant-based rental assistance, which means that you are free to rent any unit on the open market and are not restricted to living in public housing.
Other Ways to Find Section 8 Listings in Massachusetts
Finding apartments for rent that accept Section 8 can seem like a daunting task if you do not receive a list of units from your PHA. However, you can locate Section 8 approved housing for rent using many other methods.
Regular apartment for rent apps and websites can be a good starting place. That is because these search engines typically only include properties that accept Section 8 vouchers.
Landlords do not always state the fact that they are willing to accept HUD vouchers. Therefore, when looking through apartment searching websites, it helps to keep an eye out for certain terminologies, such as “income-restricted” and other phrases that indicate a landlord may participate in the program.
Some websites are designed just for Section 8 listings in Massachusetts, which can make it easier to find a suitable apartment. For example, GoSection8 active listings may include a wider variety of eligible apartments than other websites.
Because landlords use a variety of methods for advertising available units, it helps to expand your search. You may consider looking for rentals in places such as:
- Newspaper ads
- Community bulletin boards
- Online classifieds
- For-rent signs around your desired neighborhood
You may even find that your current landlord is willing to participate in this program. If you would like to continue renting in the same place, it is a good idea to ask your landlord about this possibility. Learn more about finding Section 8 rental listings that will suit your needs by reading our helpful guide here.
Quality Standards for Section 8 Approved Housing in Massachusetts
After using a Section 8 housing list to locate a property, you need to ensure that the unit meets a few requirements. First, the rental must be leased by a landlord who is willing to take housing choice vouchers. Unfortunately, not all property owners participate in this program.
Second, the unit needs to pass a health and safety inspection to ensure it meets HUD’s standards. Your PHA will perform the inspection before you can move in. Housing authorities look for things such as structural damage, evidence of pests and fixtures that do not work, like faulty outlets or plumbing.
Finally, the unit must be large enough for your family and it needs to be leased at a fair rate compared to other rentals in the area. Keep in mind that even if you find an apartment on an official Section 8 housing list, it still needs to undergo an inspection and meet these basic requirements.
Tips to Help You Find Low Income Apartments for Rent in Massachusetts
When searching for Section 8 rental listings in Massachusetts, there are a few important things to keep in mind. First, your PHA may require that you rent a unit in a particular area. This is usually only the case if you did not already live in the PHA’s service area when you received a voucher. Typically, this requirement only applies for the first year that you receive assistance.
Second, you need to use your housing choice voucher before it expires. Although PHA policies vary, your rental assistance will be valid for at least 60 days. Some PHAs will give you more time.
If you are having trouble finding homes for rent that accept Section 8, you may be able to receive an extension from your housing authority. Unfortunately, you risk losing your rental assistance if you are not able to find a unit before your voucher expires.